German Police Raid Mosque and Apartments in Crackdown on Salafis

تم نشره في Thu 28 July / Jul 2016. 03:09 PM - آخر تعديل في Thu 28 July / Jul 2016. 03:11 PM
  • German Security Forces - (Archives)

HILDESHEIM, Germany — German police have searched a mosque and eight apartments in Hildesheim that are believed to be a hotbed of a radical Salafist community, the interior minister of the northern state of Lower Saxony said on Thursday.

Germany is on high alert after a spate of attacks since July 18 left 15 people dead - including four attackers - and dozens injured. Two assailants, a Syrian asylum seeker and a refugee from either Pakistan or Afghanistan, had links to Islamist militancy, officials say.

Interior Minister Boris Pistorius said in a statement that up to 400 police - including mobile squads and a special forces police commando - were involved in the raids on Wednesday in the Hildesheim area, targeting the German-speaking Islamic circle (DIK) there, which “is a nationwide hot-spot of the radical Salafist scene that is monitored for a long time," the state official said, according to Reuters, and that the search followed months of planning and was an important step toward banning the association, which security authorities say has radicalized Muslims and encouraged them to take part in jihad in combat zones.

Numerous members of the mosque have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State, while sermons, seminars and speeches call for "hate against non-believers," the ministry said.

Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathizers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials have said.